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All Rise

Filippo Sciascia’s work bridges worlds in his quest for answers.

Filippo, how long have you been an artist?
I have been interested in creating things since I was young, using any kind of media I can lay my hands on. I have always been particularly attracted to painting and drawing and consider the creative process a source of life itself.
Can you describe to us the nature of your work?
During the past 10 years I have drawn inspiration from many areas – philosophy, anthropology, mathematics and science (to name a few) – and used the concepts as a starting point for my artistic projects. I am trying to portray the essence of things; of nature and eternal creation. Trying to grasp these fundamental elements is integral to my installation/video works, and to my painting.
Have you ever been anything other than an artist?
What is an artist in this day and age? I have always been a creative person but I don’t, necessarily, call myself an artist… more of an inquirer.
How important is the dialogue that goes with your art in terms of explaining it to a viewer?
The dialogue with people who view it is interesting, but not the most important thing. What I am actually trying to do during my conceptual development is attempting to explain myself… to myself. I like it that people think my work is nice, interesting, that they like it and that we can share something. But I never create with an audience in mind. I’m not trying to teach or to show something to anyone. I’m a bit reserved and shy in that respect.
What place does abstract and installation art have in today’s society? Why do we need it?
Art has no boundaries, whether it be abstract, installation or filmic. It has always been important – throughout the millennia to the present. Humans have always been creators, have always had the urge to represent the natural gestalt. Primitive stone carving, even hunting, is an expression of this. As soon as a child is presented with a pencil and paper he/she begins to scribble, to possess the space that is defined by the paper with colour and form. It’s entirely amazing, but natural – with no teaching necessary. It’s life.
How much time do you spend in Bali, and why do you choose to do so?
Around four months at a time. The rest of the time I am traveling to Milan and other places where I have exhibitions. I’ve been based on Bali for about 12 years and it is an important place for me – a place far away from the chaos of modernity; a quiet place where I can have the conversations with myself about how to move my art forward.
Your work is evocative and mysterious, as if it’s trying to tell us something about the nature of our lives. Why do we feel this, would you say?
The attraction of opposites. Rise and fall. Light and dark. Endlessness.
Is your art a search for answers as to why we are here as individuals and as a race?
I guess you could look at it that way. I look at life through the lenses I have already mentioned and I suppose it (life) makes a certain sense to me. But I have always expressed myself through art, especially painted images. It’s probably because with other mediums, like writing or talking, I’m not so comfortable. I’m not good at them… in fact I am very bad.
How do children react to your work?
They will react like everyone else – no two will react in the same way; some will not react at all. Same as adults. I’ve heard so many different opinions about my work – even if those opinions are about the same piece of work… some completely absurd and stupid; some contemplative and intelligent; and everything in between.
How would you describe your personality?
I would say a mixture of shy and proud. Ugly (laughs) but certainly unique. I am good at what I do… but not the best, of course. I maintain a sense of the fun I’m having working in the art world. But if I’m to be honest, I prefer other people to describe me… if they feel they have to.
What’s your routine as an artist?
My routine is obsessive. Obsessively trying to come up with new ideas. Even when I am not in my studio or actively involved in a current project, this mind of mine is ALWAYS there.
What processes are you currently using?
My media evolves in parallel with my conceptual development. It’s a diary, day by day. For better or worse if you keep a diary, you keep writing.
If you’re not in your studio close to Ubud, where would we find you?
Call my closest friends and you’ll find me. Friendship is very important to me and real ones – close ones – I can count on the fingers of one hand. They take care of me and I take care of them.